Get to Know our Runners

Each month, we highlight a different club member. 

Wendy Tomyk - "It Makes Me Feel Like a Kid"

Wendy Tomyk is the everything bagel of runners. Over the last twenty-some years, she’s tried almost all sectors of running – road races from half-marathons to marathons; 5 km Park Runs; triathlons; timed ultra events on loops; serial races like three half-marathons in three days; and trail races both local and exotic. Likewise, her training runs span that same variety – running with a formal group like the Wednesday Running Room club; running by herself; running with one or two friends. Like so many of us, Wendy loves the camaraderie, but also needs the stress relief of solo runs. Stress is down somewhat since she left her stint as an Emergency triage nurse, but she still works part-time as a surgical nurse; runs; loves spending family time including with a new grand-baby; and putters in many artistic endeavours. The running community benefits from that artistic talent. Wendy is the designer of a series of Canada Goose medals, including the brilliant one with the goose spinning around the clockface, and she and Doris Burdon are designing and making new pottery mugs for the awards for personal longest distances at the Canada Goose event.

The first time Wendy started running, she literally was a kid. She ran in early high school, but unlike most high school runners, it wasn’t for cross country or track season. She wanted to maintain weight. Unlike other high school runners, she’d run for as much as an hour at a time. The town folks of Moosomin likely thought she was crazy. But then typical teenage things happened – she met her husband to be; she got a job, and there were parties…so running was on hold. It stayed on hold until Wendy was 40 with grown up kids and a stressful job as a triage nurse in Emergency.  

Wendy was doing Jazzercize when her friend Pam asked her if she wanted to do the See Jane Tri triathlon. Yes! The two took Learn to Swim classes, rode bikes, started running, and successfully accomplished their goal. Then Pam quit but Wendy kept on running on her own, working up to a half-marathon (luckily they remain travel buddies and besties!). The next year, she joined the Track and Trail run club. There, she met many of her current friends that she still runs and rides with – Doris Burdon, Loanne Myrah, and Sean Reidy. Wendy finished her first marathon at QCM in 2011. What would be next?

Wendy was persuaded by friend Lee-Ann Ricci to run her first ultra in 2015  – 50 km at the predecessor of the Canada Goose Ultra race – the Goose Bump. She began running further, and further afield. She has a streak of increasing her distance at every Goose event she’s run in, and has posted a longest distance of 104 km. She particularly likes Jason Hubick’s local trail events, and as well she’s run trail races from Arizona to Northern Ireland. When she talks about some of these events, her eyes sparkle and you can hear the excitement in her voice. “That race had everything,” she says talking about the 64 km Causeway Coast trail run in Northern Ireland. “There was sand, and boulders, singletrack, and sheep gates, and stairs. When I saw the stairs, I couldn’t believe it, they just went up and up”. She seems to particularly revel in the hardest part of each race. Regarding the Causeway Coast run, Wendy says, “I loved those boulders. You had to use your hands and sometimes your hands would get caught”. She gets that same excitement talking about bombing downhill at races like Beaver Flat or Powderface, “I just feel like a kid running downhill on a trail. It’s so much fun!”

You’ll see Wendy this year on Saturday morning group runs, out doing the Lumsden or Douglas Park hills, or running around Wascana Park. She’ll be at the Gopher, the Canada Goose, the Hoot and Howl, the Bigfoot, and the Prairie Nightmare. Usually, at this point of our ‘Get to know our Club Runner’ series, I’ll ask you to wave or say hi. But for Wendy, I think you should send her a postcard from any of your travels…but just don’t sign it.

Craig Johnson - Humility Personified

Craig Johnson is the most humble guy I know. He dates this quality from an incident when he was 7 or 8 years old. Craig was developing as an excellent baseball player, and his coach announced that he would treat the team to a celebration lunch if they did well at a certain game. They succeeded in meeting the coach’s goal, and each 8-year old was regaling the others about how his catch, bat, or steal had won the game for them. “Boys,” said the coach as Craig remembers it, “you don’t need to tell people if you’ve done well – we’ll see it for ourselves”. Craig has never forgotten that boyhood lesson, and even now, at 60+, he’s reluctant to do anything remotely like boasting. How many of you knew that Craig is likely the second-most prolific marathoner in Regina, with well over 150 marathons and ultras to his credit? Interestingly, Craig doesn’t even know exactly how many marathons and ultras he’s run: he’s after the experience - new experiences and new ventures – rather than numbers and lists (even Craig’s list, ha ha). You can really see this in Craig’s non-running life: he has sky dived; parasailed; white-water rafted; and bungee jumped, among many other pursuits.

Craig’s running didn’t start out so adventurously. He began running to get more fit as a top baseball player. Only after a few years of running 15 to 30 minutes at a time, did he start entering races. Back then, the Saskatchewan Timex series was foremost, and runners ran the 5 and 10 k’s around the province. Marathons and half-marathons were pretty rare. Craig ran the 5 km event at the Buffalothon as his first race, and at the start line, he marveled at the runners lining up in the opposite direction who were going to do the 15 km event. 15 km! How was that even possible? Of course, he soon found out it was, and the next year, he joined that group running 15 km. From there, it was simple math – well, a marathon was less than triple of what he had just done, so why not give it a go? He ran his first marathon at the Saskatchewan marathon in Saskatoon in 1990. Craig’s progression through running mirrors running culture in Regina. He went from running 5 and 10 k’s to running marathons; then running multiple marathons in one year; and then running trail and mountain ultras.

Craig loves the memories of the early Regina running days, training with and traveling to races with the Regina Road Runners, and being part of a team at the Jasper Banff and Kananaskis relays. In those days, travel to races further than a couple of hours was rare, and very seldom out of province. But Craig had a hankering to visit New York City. He managed to get a NYC marathon entry form and mail it in with his American money order. He found himself running his sixth marathon in New York city among a huge crowd of 25 to 30,000 runners, with spectators lining up five-deep cheering them on. What a blast for a prairie boy! It is still his favourite running experience. He was the first of the RRR group to run an ultra longer than 50 km – the Prince Albert 50 miler. Being one of the first local ultra runners was challenging – he had to guess about training, fueling, and as he says, back then he thought, “What’s a taper?”

Craig’s running multiple marathons accelerated because of a Regina Road Runners initiative. The club would award pins for first marathon; fifth marathon; tenth marathon; and 25th marathon. Then some people (I blame Craig’s running partner, Barry Hopkins) got competitive about their totals. Barry started vying with Jennifer Taylor to see who could pull ahead of the other. But it was hard to one-up local runners because there just weren’t that many marathons within one-day driving distance – at first just Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton. So if Barry or Craig found a new marathon not known by the rest of the group, he would make sure not to tell anyone else – Barry and Craig would disappear for the weekend, and return next week sporting new medals around their necks and chortling madly. Craig and Barry were the masters of “the secret marathon”.

After many road running years, he started running mountain ultras. Craig excels at hiking uphill, so he did well at 50 mile races like the Crown King scramble in Arizona, Bighorn in Wyoming, and Lost Souls ultra in Lethbridge. At first, 100 mile races were a challenge too far for him. Past 50 miles, his feet blistered grotesquely. Luckily once Jeff Campbell started crewing his races, Jeff figured out the root cause of the blistering – Craig’s electrolyte intake was seriously off, so his hands and feet would swell, and then the blisters would develop. He would never have figured out the answer had he not persevered.

These days, Craig has cut back a bit to maybe one long race a year. You’ll also see him on the paths, or doing the Lumsden hills, or out at Park run. Be sure to share a few kilometers with him: I can guarantee he’ll keep you entertained with some wild stories.

Michael Dahlman - Social Butterfly and Numbers Nerd

You know Michael Dahlman: the engaging guy who’s always organizing group runs at the Running Room; being a pacer at the Queen City marathon; dressing up in costumes during a race; always running in a group where you can hear the runners laughing. But Michael’s social side is balanced by a more introspective characteristic – what he calls “the numbers nerd side”. He pulls out his Smash Run technology to check on some of his answers to my questions. I stare at the bar graph showing one huge peak close to the y axis. “What’s that – your big run at the Canada Goose 24 hour?” (meaning 130 km at last year’s Canada Goose 24 hour). Michael clarifies – this graph is all his years of running, since 2012, showing over 17,000 km, and the huge spike is when he and friend Greg Chovin ran the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, invented by Lazarus Lake of Barkley fame. They covered the 1000 km in 40 days, averaging 25 km per day. Of course the numbers didn’t start that big. Michael worked a desk job back in 2011, weighing 65 pounds heavier than his current weight, and being frustrated with his life. He hired a trainer, started lifting weights and doing 15 minutes on a treadmill. The treadmill time became 20 min, 30 min, and then he transitioned to running outside and became, as he says, “super obsessive”. But also, so happy.


Michael began organizing runners in 2015, working part time at Running Room, and helping train people and organize races. At the same time, he began pursuing his own goals –first tough mudder, first marathon, first ultra, first mountain trail race. Each of those got commemorated as a tattoo on his calves! Reviewing his tattoos is like hearing a story line of his racing history. On his left calf are a maple leaf, a mountain scene, and the Saskatchewan Legislative building. The three main scenes are surrounded by stars – little stars for half-marathons, big stars for ultras, and eight little orange dots for tough mudders. I ask about each of the main designs. Each of them is a first. The Leg building is from the Queen City medal when he ran his first marathon in 2016. The maple leaf represents his first ultra, when he ran 101 km at the Canada Goose when it was the National championship event. And there’s quite a story behind the mountain scene. Michael has gone on to run many stages of the famously tough Sinister 7, but in 2018, he ran the Golden Ultra three day event. Days 1 and 3 went fine, but day 2, he was close to the top of the 66 km on steep switchbacks, leading up to the Kicking Horse summit, but only 20 minutes left to meet the time cut-off. Unfortunately, his stomach did not want him to make the time cut-off. Non-stop puking forced him to quit. 


His right leg commemorates the marathons making up the Abbott world majors. So far, Michael has done Chicago, Berlin, and New York City. Berlin was especially celebratory as it was the first time he broke the four hour mark in the marathon. Michael continues to get steadily faster, setting PRs every year, and is continually plotting new ways to improve and make his Boston qualifying mark, as well as getting into Tokyo and London. The Sydney marathon, likely the next Abbott major, is Michael’s A race for 2024.


You’ll see Michael out on the roads all the time. Now that he’s a postie, and walking 50 km a week while carrying a pack, he’s built up stamina for high mileage. He’ll either be running with his pups, Emma and Tucker, or with a group of like-minded runners, plotting new ways to get faster, to get more people out running, and generally spreading good cheer. Make sure you say Hi!